NSB Logo Alex Benay Alex Benay

Alex Benay

Speaker Exclusive

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Digital Innovation Expert & Executive, Microsoft

An advocate for culture change that facilitates more digital, agile and open organizations, Alex Benay is a dynamic executive with public, crown and private sector experience.   He aligns innovation with new leadership traits that must emerge in order to compete and win in our new digital reality.

Keynote Speeches

Virtual Keynotes & Webinars
Contact us for more information about this speaker & their virtual presentations. Click here for some of the most popular formats for virtual events.
Everything has Changed: Top Traits of a Digital Leader

How you manage your teams, organizations or projects has been fundamentally upended over the past decade. Has your leadership style evolved? The digital revolution has taken a mere decade to creep into every aspect of our lives, and things are now different, forever. One cannot manage today like we managed in the past. COVID has only expedited and made these changes more acute. 

This keynote will go over what has actually happened to the workplace during the digital economic transition of the past 5-10 years, and how it changes everything. It will highlight what assumptions you are most likely guilty of as a leader, and what new leadership traits must emerge in order to compete and win in this new digital reality, leaving a top 10 traits of a digital leader for the audience to take home and action.  

Alex Benay is an executive in the global technology sector, as well as a Deputy Minister in government, responsible for some of the country’s most leading edge digital developments of the past decade. He brings his experience to the session, sharing lessons learned and stories from the trenches, connecting with the audience and urging a new type of workplace and leadership for the coming digital age.

The New Digital Reality | Megatrends & Your Future Outlook

In the era of ever-evolving digital technologies and buzzwords around AI, the cloud, blockchain, and nanotech getting a clear understanding of this new landscape and what it means for your organization can seem like an impossible proposition. A lack of understanding of the impending change can erode public trust and prove crippling to your organization. As one of the rare executives experienced in leading both enterprise software and government organizations, Alex Benay is uniquely positioned to offer technological guidance for organizations across sectors. In this customized presentation, Alex will explore some of the megatrends in this space, what they mean for business models, how to compete on the international stage and what it takes to win. He will challenge you to make the cultural change required to enable a shift to better digital business models, policies and laws. Audiences will leave empowered to conquer the digital challenges facing the future of their organization.

Key Takeaways:
• How digital is impacting the institutions who deal in public trust as a business model.
• How to cut through the hype in order to focus on real concrete digital actions your institution should be most concerned about getting right.
• A roadmap for where Canada and its businesses should be heading in the next few years.

Digital Economy

Most institutions aren’t ready for the shift towards the digital economy. How can you build public trust in our ever-changing digital landscape? It requires a very different approach from that of a decade ago. Identity management, privacy, machine-to-machine communication, quality standards, and a shifting geopolitical climate are just some of the areas Alex Benay explores in this presentation. Taking a big-picture approach to issues around identity and policy, he provides audiences with a clear understanding of what coming & how they can position themselves for future success. Customized for each audience, Alex will show your organization how change isn’t a risk when moving forward in the digital economy.

Key Takeaways:
• The techniques used by foreign countries who have successfully accelerated their digital economies.
• The current state of Canada’s policy and transition to a data-driven economy, and where gaps can be turned into opportunities.
• The tangible steps your institution can take to get ready for our future digital economy.

The Machines are Here: Ethical Artificial Intelligence

Today’s headlines are filled with articles on the challenges government face in regulating big platforms such as Google, Facebook, and others. Alex Benay argues this the battle was lost a decade ago. We are now faced with a new battle, one which our institutions are once again ill-equipped to fight: the battle to manage the machines. In this presentation, Alex explores the most pressing AI and data battles taking place, while bringing to life some of the important real-world scenarios we too often ignore either as corporate citizens or everyday individuals. From for-profile companies making decisions without human intervention to certain governments controlling ISO standards processes on AI, Alex will draw from his personal experience developing the worlds first Algorithmic Impact Assessment tool to show how we can mitigate risk. Audiences will walk away with a clear understanding of how their organizations can better prepare themselves for the algorithmic battles to come; how to choose ethical technology suppliers; the role corporate values plays in automation & more.

Key Takeaways:
• The primary threats in this space, and what the battles being waged by the data & AI giants mean to you.
• What steps organizations can take to prepare themselves for the rise of algorithms within their institutions.
• How ethical automation can be be used in tangible ways to help organizations achieve goals.

Canada’s Digital Future

Alex Benay applied a different lens to the technology landscape of government with a goal to create a government that is more exponential, rather than linear, in order to meet Canadians’ needs for digital services. Alex’s keynote address will discuss the ways in which the public sector must strive to engage with citizens in a way that is open and digital by default first. Alex will also touch on how the Government of Canada, among others, must embrace the technologies needed to operate in a digital world and promote innovation in the public sector – in order to bring government services into the information age.

Customized Keynote Presentations

Alex also offers customized presentations on learning from failure, social leadership, intrapreneurship and more. View a full list of his presentations here.

Platform Plus Presentations

Unique formats and ways to connect with audiences.
Panelist/In Conversation
From AI to the IoE, from open government to building innovation, Alex brings fascinating insights to a wide range of discussion topics.

Audience reviews:

  • Alex is dedicated outspoken professional who exudes confidence and delivers results. Alex really knows how to mobilize people from vision to action, using his passion and skills to motivate productive results. - Dan Larocque
  • Alex is a true champion of Canadian technology and a great example of a can-do, dynamic public servant that’s thinking about the modern economy of intellectual property and data and designing policies for it...I have been impressed at his willingness to get things done. - Jim Balsillie - Former BlackBerry CEO & co-founder CIO Strategy Council
  • Alex is a sensational collaborator and catalyst to make things happen. On behalf of the entire G20YEA, we are very grateful for all his time, work and commitment in sharing our vision of a more entrepreneurial world. - G20 Young Entrepreneur Alliance
  • Alex brought a high level of energy and innovation to make information management relevant to achieve business objectives. - Pierre Lafond

Speaker Biography

Alex Benay is a global leader addressing the future of a digital economy, the influence of artificial intelligence, and the leadership required to make significant change towards the future.  He’s an avid user of technology voicing the importance of taking risks, failing fast and challenging the status quo when it comes to technological innovation.

At Microsoft, Benay is making digital government a reality by helping lead the company’s global government cloud strategy. In his previous role as Partner of Digital and Government Solutions at KPMG AI, Benay helped the firms’ public sector clients effectively implement key digital technologies and solutions such as Artificial Intelligence (including ethical AI), Blockchain, Cloud computing, Data Security and Privacy, Digital Identification, Digital Integrity and Assurance. 

In his previous role as Canada’s CIO, Benay was responsible for a broad portfolio with a budget of $6 billion, 17 thousand employees and countless vendors. With technology and change as constants, Benay balanced the needs of government information systems with the demands of an increasingly dynamic, digitally-savvy and on-demand population. 

Benay believes in the strength of social media channels to communicate to Canadians and engage them on shaping the way forward. He also uses social media as an outlet to offer a running commentary on the big initiatives and projects he’s involved in. Benay is not your typical executive!

His previous roles have included that of President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation, and Vice-President, Government Affairs and Business Development at OpenText, Canada’s largest software company.

Benay’s authored a few books including:  “Canadian Failures: Stories of Building toward Success”. He brings together successful Canadians such as astronauts and gold medal athletes to explore how failure got them to where they are today, in an effort to remove the national stigma surrounding the term ‘to fail’. He’s also released “Government Digital: The Quest to Regain Public Trust” that will lay down a blueprint for digital change for other governments and organizations.